A very basic outline of German grammar
A very basic outline of German grammar to help understand the grammatical construction of the German sentences on Surface Languages.
German nouns have three genders
masculine, feminine and neuter. Nouns start with a capital letter. E.g. die Milch
Genders have to be learnt along with the nouns as there is no way of guessing the gender correctly.
Nouns can be split into :-
|der ||masculine |
|die ||feminine |
|das ||neuter |
The definite article varies according to the gender and cases
of the noun, and whether it is in the singular or plural.
The appropriate pronoun
depends on the gender of the noun. The object or person being referred to in the following examples is either a masculine, feminine or neuter
noun or male/female.
|Er is dort ||It/He is there |
|Sie ist dort ||It/She is there |
|Es ist dort ||It is there |
So if tea is being disucssed (der Tee
masculine), when answering the question
|Wie ist der Tee? ||What is the tea like? |
|Er ist gut ||It is good |
would be used for it.
Bank is a feminine word and so the pronoun is sie
|Wo ist die Bank? ||Where is the bank? |
|Sie ist dort links ||It is there (on the) left |
Pronouns and cases
|English ||Nominative ||Accusative ||Dative|
|I ||ich ||mich ||mir |
|He ||er ||ihn ||ihm |
|She ||sie ||sie ||ihr |
|It ||es ||es ||ihm |
|We ||wir ||uns ||uns |
|You ||Sie ||Sie ||Ihnen|
|They ||sie ||sie ||ihnen|
Pronouns have different cases and the case used depends on its function or meaning within the sentence.
This (das) and there (da) - when pointing
|Ist das die Milch? ||Is that the milk |
|Ja, das ist sie ||Yes, that is it |
|Das ist die Milch ||That is the milk |
|Da ist der Flughafen ||There is the airport |
|Da sint ... ||There are ... |
when (figuratively) used as pointing words, to not change depending on the noun or number of things
Verbs (The present tense)
German verbs decline. The majority of regular verbs are declined as follows:-
|Verstehen ||to understand |
|I understand ||ich verstehe |
|He/she/it understands ||er, sie, es versteht |
|We understand ||wir verstehen |
|You (formal) understand ||Sie verstehen |
|They understand ||sie verstehen |
|Geben ||to give |
|I give ||ich gebe |
|He/she/it gives ||er, sie, es gibt |
|We give ||wir geben |
|You (formal) give ||Sie geben |
|They give ||sie geben |
'to give' is the infinitive. Many German verbs are declined (in the present tense) by removing the 'en' and replacing it with either 'e', 't' and 'en'.
'You give' is the formal form of the verb, used in both the singular and plural.
always starts with a capital when it means 'you'. sie
can mean 'she' or 'they' depending on the context.